North Carolina Republican Rep. Walter Jones died in his home on Sunday, Feb. 10 at age 76. Jones was placed in hospice after his health declined following a broken hip he sustained on Jan. 14.
Jones served for 34 years on Capitol Hill and in the North Carolina Legislature. Throughout his career, he was a bright supporter of the state’s commercial fishing industry.
“Fishing is a pillar of Eastern North Carolina’s heritage and a key component of our regional economy,” reads a statement from Jones on his website. “Federal policy ought to reflect the importance of this industry to job creation and economic growth, but sadly, that is not the case. Instead, federal law and federal regulators have crippled this once-vibrant industry.”
Jones wrote and co-sponsored bills to rein in catch share programs along the East Coast, push for more flexibility in stock rebuilding timelines under the Magnuson-Stevens Act and require transparency in the proceedings of federal fisheries managers.
He also penned letters in support of funding for marine fisheries data and management programs, the National Sea Grant Program, commercial fishing rights in the Northeast Canyons and Seamounts National Monument and in opposition of offshore oil and gas exploration in the Atlantic Ocean.
“As long as I have the privilege to serve, I will do everything in my power to make sure that fishermen are treated fairly by the federal government,” he wrote on his website.